Saudi restricts lingerie business loans to women

Saudi authorities have said that loans to fund the start up of lingerie and cosmetics businesses will be restricted to women from next month, it was reported.

A committee consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Saudi Credit and Saving Bank and the National Entrepreneurship Institute in Riyadh said they will decline new applications for loans submitted by men, reported Saudi Gazette.

According to the newspaper, approved interest-free loans are up to SAR300,000 (US$80,000).

“Support for the business projects in lingerie shops owned by men who have already been approved prior to this new ruling will continue,” said a source from the committee. “New applications submitted by men for loans to open lingerie or cosmetics shops will be rejected as soon as we receive them, and the proposal will not even be considered.”

Reem Asaad, who successfully campaigned for female employees in Saudi Arabia’s lingerie shops, told Arabian Business she saw the move as a positive step.

“[It] is supporting and motivating more women to get involved in trade and retail as a whole,” she said.

The change in policy could create more opportunities for female entrepreneurs, investors and managers, Asaad added.

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